KOTA KINABALU: Fifty sites in Sabah have been identified for the installation of the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) facilities this year, while another 300 sites have been earmarked next year in a bid to improve internet connectivity in the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, when launching the seven VSAT ConnectMenow installations at Kudat on Thursday (Aug 12), said this was an initiative under the state government's Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) to ensure that folks, particularly those in rural areas, will get Internet connection.
VSAT is a small-sized earth station used in transmitting and receiving data, voice and video signals over a satellite communication network.
The seven locations in Kudat chosen for the programme are Kampung Andap, Kg Popot, Kg Bak Bak, Kg Bingolon Laut, Kg Gumandong, Kg Rampai and Hutan Simpan Loro.
Sabah Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, which is the state's implementing agency, had previously installed five VSAT facilities as trials each in Ranau, Tambunan and Pitas, as well as two in Papar.
The 300 VSAT earmarked sites next year, meanwhile, are expected to complement the National Digital Network (Jendela) programme, which would be implemented by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), he added.
Hajiji said Sabah had been allocated RM3.5bil to implement the Jendela programme, which is projected to boost the state's 4G Internet penetration to 90% by year 2023.
Up to May this year, 51 telecommunication towers had been built, while another 483 towers are in the midst of construction.
“At the same time, some 1,729 towers have been upgraded from 3G to 4G, while the remaining 1,648 are still undergoing upgrading works,” he said, adding that eight new telco towers are completed and operating in Kudat district at present.
Meanwhile, during his working visit to Kudat, Hajiji also presented laptops to 513 students from various schools there under the Bantuan Ihsan Komputer (Baik) programme, aimed to help them with their online studies.
District Education Officer Kusdi Ribut received laptops on behalf of the eligible students in Kudat.
The Sabah government has previously targeted to hand out 10,000 units of laptop to underprivileged students state-wide sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) this year, with an initial allocation of RM15mil.
The laptops are being supplied by Sabah Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry beginning July 19 in a three-month duration.
“The government decided to give the laptops to SPM and STPM candidates not just to help them in their Home-based Teaching and Learning (PdPR) programme, but also for their future use in higher learning institutions,” explained Hajiji.
Hajiji also presented a mock cheque of RM144,000 to 72 students state-wide who excelled in the 2020 STPM examinations.
The students, who would receive RM2,000 each, were represented by Sabah Education deputy director Dr Kassim Hussein.